Dealing with change
Change. As I wrote that there I experienced an unsettling feeling within my body, a rumbling inside my stomach. What was going on for me?
It is a word that can carry a variety of feelings in each of us. These might be dependant on the type of change. Is the change going to create an exciting opportunity, attending a new school, moving away from home and into a different city to study a subject you are passionate about (that and the new sense of freedom and into life you've been looking forward to for so long) but now it's closer its has a scare attached to it. It could be a change that is unavoidable, feeling somewhat mandatory without much flexibility.
As humans we are usually creatures of habit, like a degree of predictability, we like to feel in the know, knowing situations and circumstances well, with the unknown raising our anxieties as we are taken out of our comfort zones. The benefit of change allows us to develop the ability to adapt. Our feelings and the level of fear will be influenced by many factors. Our awareness of the potential for such change happening, expectations, choice, the nature of the change and how definite it is.
Our feelings towards change can be impacted on our self esteem, the way we think about ourselves, our sense of personal worth and value. Our thoughts, feelings and experience can shape us. Our sense of self esteem will contribute to our ability to manage changes. Sometimes we can be resentful of the changes a transition creates in our lives.
Transitions can involve endings as much as new beginnings, and sometimes it may be essential to find closure on certain things in our lives before we can open ourselves to new experiences.
We can feel vulnerable a bit like our structure and scaffolding is unstable but therapy can provide a secure base to explore and process how things are for you.
A-Level and GCSE Exam results day stirs up a lot of emotion for both students and parents. Here are my top tips for dealing with exam day disappointment
A note to the young person making sense of exam results.
Its somehow engrained in us to focus on the negatives, but actually, there are nearly always positives we can take away from a situation like this. Right now, you need to focus on those positives and subdue disappointment before it consumes you. Take some time to reflect on the disappointment but do not dwell on things that cannot be changed.
Firstly, remember this. You made history. You not only survived a global pandemic you also managed to (pretty much) teach yourself for a whole year and deal with a whole new set of examination stipulations, this was not part of the plan. In fact, all plans were pretty much out of the window. If the teachers, parents, and guardians didn’t have a clue what was going on, then how could you possibly be expected to…but you did, you got on with it and you tried your absolute best.
This may not have been part of your plan, sometimes our lives take a sharp turn and lead us down an unexpected road but, although it may not feel like it right now, more often than not, these unplanned road trips end up bringing us more happiness.
There are alternatives, resits, different courses or a complete change of plan. Talk it through with parents and professionals that you trust to give you sound advice. Stay around people and do activities that can help you relax, ultimately you need to be kind to yourself.
A note to the parents supporting young people with exam disappointment
It’s easy enough for us to say ‘they’re only exams’ but to young minds this has been their main goal in life for so long. The main thing your child needs right now is your support. Don’t try to wrap them up in cotton wool. Talk things through calmly and try to let your child find their own solutions without forcing your opinions (or sometimes your own disappointment, after all you’ve been routing for them for a long time too) on them. There's no denying that exams are important, however they are just one measure of success.
Initially there will be much upset, but this should start to ease given time. If you start to notice changes in behaviour, signs of stress and anxiety, try to encourage them out of their surroundings, get outside, take a day trip, go see a movie together or even a splurge in the shops, it may not change the results but may clear their minds to allow them to think about what steps to take next.
Above all else approach this time with love and and not anger, there are solutions, you just have to work together to find the right one for your child.
https://www.youngminds.org.uk/ is a fabulous website split for both young people and adults
UCAS | At the heart of connecting people to higher education have specialists who can navigate you through your options.
Worried about your teenager? - NHS (www.nhs.uk) a great resource for parents worried about their child’s mental health.
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families are offering free sessions between 16-19 August to give you some tips on how to support your child & their mental health.
If you are struggling with exam results and need somebody to talk to you can contact me for a free 20 minute introductory assessment. Click on the button below.